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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  January 10, 2013 6:00am-9:00am EST

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>> i think alicia raises two important points. the first is the last, the one, the unintended consequences of changes in election procedures. we almost always get what we think we're going to get but
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then there's always something else that follows on. and one is, the behavior of voters with an expectation, particularly in an era of e-government. why shouldn't my records and ballots be available where ever i choose to go? the second thing, and military installations if you want to improve the child halls, the general always makes the food better. one of the things i think is interesting with election officials is how many of us vote on election day. how many of us experience that line, that q. and the answer is, most of us vote absentee because of that responsibility. so one of the things i've tried to do over the years is ideal in advance to ago and i stand in line and i learned a lot. i learnt a lot by listening to people, but that may be something as a professional goal for each of us is experienced
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the line come experience the way, experience the location. all right? >> my name is lorenzo. i have almost 10 months experience in the selection process. i worked at a trainer and helped out with the helpdesk for the april primary and the may special election. in the general election i worked as a trainer and very reluctantly as an area rap. the area rep job, however, took me out of my -- after training and let me see really what happens out in the wild. so which really good experience that way. one of the things i observed is i thought that we had a never-ending supply of voters all day in d.c. they were much more orderly than i expected. they were frustrated of course living in the line for a long time that the precincts i visited, they were very orderly. another thing i observed is even
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though we did come in d.c., i think a very good job of predicting the volume of voters for the day, there were a couple of issues. you mentioned scalability a little bit. i think there were a couple issues with scalability we did not anticipate. one i would call a convenience factor. one of the first elections where we had out of precinct voting where you can vote at any precinct want with certain consequences, for instance, and when my precincts an office building, a lot of people in the building just came downstairs and voted and went back to work. because it was so convenient. but that precinct, they went from 68 special ballots in 2008 to 256 for this election. another factor is what i call a student factor, and, where we have several precincts where are near colleges. we have something called same-day registration where you just show up and vote on election day, register and vote. almost all of our students
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waited until that day to come down to register and vote. and that caused, with one precinct across the street from howard university and they went from 56 special ballots in 2008 the 330 this year. partially because of that student factor i think, so those things i don't think we quite anticipated. we had a total i think of 320% increase of special ballot over 2008. another thing when i first started working, one of things i was told his people in d.c. tend to want to vote paper as opposed to electronic because they trust paper more. one of the things -- i think a changing demographic in d.c. where people want to use touchscreen more, even in one precinct i was in there was nobody at the paper ballot booth and yet there was a line at the touch screen. no idea what people were standing there but there was no line for paper. also, for d.c. we really don't have the touchscreen their own
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amassed so much. a trigger for the convenience of those who may have a disability. or those who may be blind because there's an audio with it. so we only have one touchscreen and most of our precincts. there may be two in larger precincts. another thing i think that was hard, people could actually come people who are disabled or the elderly that can drive up to the precinct and when people call call it voter assistant clerks. they will go out, take information, comeback in, goes to check in, get them about, take a back up to them, they felt, and take it back and. but there was a great increase in the number of curbside voting this time. on the issue of that is curbside takes a long time because of the fact you have to go out, get their information, comeback kid, go to check in, get about, get
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about comeback outcome have the vote and bring it back and. so that took a long time as we well. i'm doing some of the analysis now as well, and in that capacity got to read a lot of captains knows. and while i'm sure a lot of elections you have certain election workers who don't show up for some or ineffective. i think because of the great falling of voters this time i think that a much greater impact. we had one voter who didn't show up. i think that a much greater impact this time than it would in 20842010. that and also certain ineffective workers as well. my overall experience with this is that it was a great day overall. it was very hectic. some of our precincts which closed at eight still had special ballots at nine or 930
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yeah. it was a long day, very hectic but overall it was a good experience. >> thank you. keeping an eye on the clock, we do have some hard deadlines this morning, and so i do need to end this right at 10:30. i want to ask you now, lorenzo, i will start with you, work background and then end with making this thing. after every election, election officials do some kind of post. we did go to lessons learned. lessons learned in regard to what worked well, where our failures were, where our vulnerabilities were. and in some cases where we dodged the bullet. where things went right, accidentally. and one of the perspectives of this group is uniquely brings to this roundtable discussion is
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that of the poll worker, the poll manager in the trench, people who are observing the behavior of voters, observing the manifestation of the training, manifestation of the planning. and what i'd like you to do is kind of summarize what advice that you would give to your election official in the case of the poll workers, in the case of county election officials, at least perhaps what you to do your colleagues, give to state. and what advice you would give to the voters going forward. and we are not looking for a broad less answer because we think that if we can identify just one or two really relevant high priority things, that gives us guidance in going forward on developing research agenda and best practices. so if i did start with lorenzo, and please, everybody, keep your
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comments to about one minute so that we can wind up in time. >> the quick things are me, one, i was just noticing the impact of the two things we added since 2008. that's the out of precinct voting and the same-day registration. they are great things to have, great conveniences, but they do impact the process gregory peck the second thing has to do with somebody mentioned thank you earlier. i think we need to have more training for our captains intensity with that cute. some precincts are very orderly. some looked visually chaotic exodus training with that que. >> i think if i were to give a piece of advice, actually two pieces of advice, to my colleagues, what i will say is in the election, one size does not fit all.
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and we need to understand that each jurisdiction has its unique challenges in terms of policy, demographics, and that what works in one county may not work in another. in addition to that i'd like to say that, i'd like for us to focus more on training. and maybe look at thinking outside of the box, and instead of conducting training, may become you know, three, four months before the election, is that maybe have a continuous stream of training every year for those who may be interested. and i think that, that may resolve a lot of issues. >> thank you. >> one of the things i wanted to touch on was this year in virginia, the numbers for provisional ballots was actually
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lower than it has been in the past. so whatever they did with regard to trading the poll workers and educating the voters, that was, you know, definitely a good step in the right direction. and then there are probably things that could be improved for voter education. one was, megan kind of touched on the preference of voters, but i think in some insist voters don't realize that either machine, both, will record your ballot. it's not one is, you know, they sit there because they are confused. not because one is for show. and then also the other thing with voters is sometimes issues, you know, reported but they're not actually things that -- anything can be done about it. touchscreens coming in, sometimes people would say oh, the machine is broken. it's not actually broken, but you do need to press down on the
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screen. so that gets reported as a machine problem when in reality it's a user error. >> thank you. >> what i would suggest is, especially during the early voting, opposed to having just touch screen machines in the voting, also paper ballots. a lot of senior citizens and disabled, that are familiar with the touch screen. they come into the precinct, they are asking for paper. not only that, i think that if there were paper ballots in the precincts, that would make the process move a little quicker. also, to the officials, city officials, that i think it would be a good thing to give the children election day off from school. that also would help the process
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move faster. >> okay, thank you. >> i guess the biggest thing, nina, created problems, and i know maricopa worked extensively with immediate community groups, political parties, all that, but i'd would continue doing so come one of things i would see on the other side is for all voters, voter interest groups, community groups, political parties, media outlets, bloggers, if you're a blogger, contact your local election officials now before we get to the next rounds of the federal election, the presidential election, the elections even this year and try to work out something with them to get the accurate information out to your voters. because that's the local election official is to get all the local officials they need, and, indeed, to be accurate as much as you want it to be accurate. and i guess that was one of the most significant problems that happen in maricopa was a news report that was inaccurate that
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add this ripple effect throughout the county that caused huge problems throughout the election and after the election. so i would just urge everyone and all stakeholders to start working those relationships out now, and work out ways to get information that counties are making. and lots and lots and lots of information available for voters. for media, for everyone. just build those relationships now. >> i want to slow down a little bit and take a person of liberty here, and hope i get back to work i'm not in trouble for this. but i want to talk a little bit about the message i want to get is how we treat our senior citizens. i saw something that were not very comfortable. i know we have absentee ballots. i now have curbside ballot voting, but some of our senior citizens wanted to coming to the precinct and experience the entire voting process, but these were citizens that were 70, 80,
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and 90 years old walking with walkers and canes, holding to, holding desperate onto their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. they want to fully participate in the voting process and we had no way for them to go in. some of the chapters would go get them out of line and bring them up to the front of the line and some people complained about that. why would you bring them up? so what i'm saying, my personal point on this is, these people were the people that fought so that i could walk in to a precinct and vote. and you're telling me with no place for them to sit and wait. i don't think that's good. we could have something like what i call an senior voting section, maybe that would be a section off to decide what our seniors could go. i know we want to address all populations, but i'm talking about our senior citizens. because it is upon their shoulders that we stand. >> thank you. >> i have several things i would
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like to see. number one, i think -- [inaudible] our election judges come and to think we need a longer training time for our chief judges, supervise the polling place on election day. number two, i think we need a better policy to handle those with disabilities and senior citizens. maybe get a policy for the. and third, i think the voter needs to be prepared. one of the things that we found out was that there were long lines at the voting unit. we had about i think a ballot issues, a lot of voters stood up the reading that while they were in the voting booth. they look and read those before they get to the voting you know, that would cut down on the amount of time. >> okay, thank you. >> i think my thing is going to be similar to others that have mentioned, i think perhaps
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better voting, better voter education about the tools that are out there to help them determine where they need to vote, more staffing at the polling places where a captain or an assistant captain could actually go through the front line, the initial check-in line, to interface with the voters, say does anyone have any questions. if you know you're in the right place or not, i can check for you. and maybe help with it. and the provisional voters, that has become a real issue with all the precincts, that we have come to. so voter education might be part of it, and i think early voting has lulled a lot of voters into thinking i can think anywhere. and the only, the only races they care about will be counted, some cases the lower level races they might be a little bit upset about, but like oh, well, at
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least i guess you got this vote. and so i think some of the other lower races and some of these ballot initiatives, not ballot initiatives is a more localized issues might get ignored and might, and might be a real problem in the end. >> megan? >> okay, i have a few things that are been touched on by almost everybody here. just to the voters about being prepared. i know in arlington county you can go on the website, type in your name and information and it tells you exactly where to go. exactly what's going to be on the ballot. and i think if we get the information out there to voters, that we can make the process speed up a little bit. if they show up at the right precincts they are not prepared, fill out the ballot and in a quicker time. and two poll workers just keep coming back. and i saw in arlington county that the poll workers had been at a few elections knew how to
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handle the situation and how to deal with the voters, and shared that information with a new poll. and i would just encourage those new poll workers to keep coming back year after year and take your experiences and share those with new coworkers who come after them. >> thank you so much. alise? >> let me again thank everyone. these things happen because you are willing to do, come in and participate. we couldn't do it without you. what we will do is obvious they take this information and start to develop best practices and get us some guidance. to our election officials, that may help, hopefully help putting on, i won't say better lot election for different elections so they goes but in the continue to be the process that we all want them to be. and i will say i think one recurring theme here is voter responsibility. so just as our election officials are responsible, voters also have to take on the
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responsibility and the knowledge base that they need to make the day go as well. thank you. >> and on behalf of of the eac, your election colleagues around the country, i thank each of you for coming today, coming prepared today, and sharing with us your perceptions this past election and your advice as we prepare for good elections and the following years. again, thank you, safe travels, and we're going to take about 15 minute break and we load. thank you. ♪ ♪ more now from the election
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assistance commission on assessing the election. this portion i have the election was administered is a little more than one hour and a half. >> [inaudible conversations] >> all right, welcome back, everyone. this is the eac continuation of our roundtable, informing change of events and issues of the torrent of election cycle. we have just finished up with the first panel, and that was
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our panel of election day workers. and individuals are observing the election as they actually work the election the process. we are now going onto her second panel which osha panel of academics researchers and the media. again, what are rooted in our processes for the 2012 election. i want to once again thank our panelists who have willingly agreed to be here and participate in this roundtable. we could not do this without their willingness to do it, and eac, on behalf of the eac were so grateful for you for your expertise and lending us your time. and again i will turn it over to merle philby our moderator for this panel, and for the rest of the day. >> again, to the panelists were here, welcome. thank you so much for joining us this money. and for those of you joined by webcast, thank you for either returning from this morning's session for joining us here.
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as alice said, the purpose of our discussion this morning and throughout the day is to reflect back on the 2012 election cycle, which, of course, includes the november 6 election but also includes the run up to, the primaries, that preceded it because election officials, election planners and researchers, we realize that these operations are constant and ongoing and overlapping. so today's discussion really probably focus many ways on the november 6 election, but i'm sure it will expand beyond that and talk about the surrounding issues leading up to the election, and then most importantly for the eac and for our election colleagues is the identification of the go forward issues. the issues that need to be identified for subsequent
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research and ultimately for subsequent action. we have with attempted a really a broad range of researchers, advocates, practitioners. and what we are hoping is that your viewpoint, your unique perspective on the election will become a part of the mosaic, all the input that we are soliciting today, and will be used and by the eac to help guide them through the development best practices, identification of policy issues, but also at the local and state level, comparable strategies for improving election operation. i was joking a little bit with mike before the panel this morning about our experiences, faculty members, and the often challenge that faculty members have in self regulate their time when they speak. and i do want to remind
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everybody on the panel that we have a hard deadline of 12:15, and we would like everybody to kind of self regulate their comments, or at least look at me from time to time to see if you're running up on top of your deadline. what i'd like to do, and don, i'd like to start with you this month them and we will do we traditionally do here at the eac, which is what asks individuals to introduce themselves briefly, and identify from the perspective what the issues that arose in your arena, in the sphere in which you work in elections, what you saw come any observations you have of the distinction between the cause and effect. heard this morning with our poll workers about long election lines, and i think they did a great job of kind of digging down into the causation factors, but also kind of slicing the salami pretty thin in terms of
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waiting lines and working lines, so to speak. so if you would, opening comments, your observation for work around the table and we'll end up with dorothy. and then at the very end, i'd like to do a similar thing begin with dorothy, which is what is your advice, what are your takeaways, what would you advise election officials, what would you advise fellow researchers, fellow advocates to identify as their priorities in going forward. so with that, don, we will start with you. >> thank you. i'm don rehill, director of election research and photocoagulation for "the associated press." i started in this business i guess you'd say in 1983 as a researcher for a news election service at the time, and it can pretty much continually involved in research and election tabulation for the media i guess you would say since then. with associated press since 2003. so api thing has a unique
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vantage point on this election. about 174 different election events and caucuses that we tidily, but november 6 was the big enchilada. and we have this huge news network with the world's largest news network. we have bureaus collecting is, early voting period and the run to the election. we have a huge election night operation where the only source for nationwide election results, and in many states the only source. as part of that operation we have stringers in virtually every porting you know, counties in most places, cities in new england. we have hundreds of people in centers. with analysts looking at the data, however news network out t in the field. so we have a pretty good facility for seeing issues and problems and trends i guess you'd say. we do have sort of advice in that we are looking for things
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that will cause us problems more than it might interest other folks on the panel. we are interested in things particularly that might delay the count, specifically. or affect the count, the accuracy of the count. and we generally make a rule of expecting and preparing for the worst, which is not hearted as we were getting ready for this election because he had a redistricting year, number one. about 10 states i think in the run up to the election that were considered residential run ups, a narrow margin makes everyone nervous. some new laws regarding voter id, change some early voting period, shorter, longer and a couple of cases. a lot of new state and county election night reporting system, either websites or whatever. a lot of long ballots, which has been alluded to before. and a huge debilitating hurricane which it right before the election and debilitated large parts of the mid-atlantic.
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as a matter of fact, the ap headquarters is in midtown on westside website, and looking downtown the night before the election nothing the blackout. large parts of the bureaus, looking across the hudson river, nothing, no lights, no power in large parts of hudson county. so it's kind of a daunting and crazy feeling to think that elections were even going to be held and hold off in some of those jurisdictions the next d day. adages want to throw out there, and huge kudos to you and your city, new york state and new jersey election officials, especially to, especially for did, in fact, administer elections successfully in what was sort of like a war zone. it was like a disaster recovery in the middle of a disaster recovery they pulled off an actual election which is remarkable. and we do work a lot with state and county election officials ostensibly all over the country, pre-election and on election and we really do value them, respect them a lot. on the bright side going to election night we knew the
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third, it was very little voting equipment change which is different from 2004, 2006, 2008 when everybody was very worried about all the changes of voting equipment. there were very few places that the changes in their major, their primary voting equipment tied going into the november 6 general election. so that voted what we thought for technical problems. i think was like a 150 reporting units where they changed the main voting equipment type, most one type to another. so our methods for tracking problems improved i think every cycle, and as i say we took a bias into looking into things that will affect us. but we did note of course that a couple of states had delayed counts, extended voting, poll closing if you will because of long lines and/or problems. a good smattering of counties and towns that are long lines, a few voting equipment problems but i think we document those better but i think there are less of them than they were in the previous cycle actually. a lot of election day
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registration delays. we sort of noted, somebody did allude to the voters lack of preparation and we've heard that a number of times. it is available on the web. what polling place you should be going to. it's not the voters fault in a majority of cases i don't think when don't think when there are problems in delays but in some cases the voters show up at the wrong voting laced even though it's readily available on the database what polling place to go to. so that's a factor i think. ..
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>> a couple of states where divisional ballots cast went up, trying to figure out why. maybe in one state it had to do with a new federal id law, but the state doesn't think so, so i'm not going to say anything yet. unfortunately, a lot of the data is not available for further analysis. we did anecdotally note instances of long lines, and, i think, merle, you might have hit on something about management might have been part of the proliferation for that phenomena, i guess you would say, this election. but that's -- i guess the main point i wanted to make is that we didn't see any huge worst case scenario, any systemic problems. we saw lots of -- as we do every election -- we saw a smattering of problems popping up. other states everything went great except for one or two counties where everything was horrible. so be happy to pop in when germane as the discussion merits here. >> okay, thank you.
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i do want to comment on one thing that don brought up, and that is the performance of voting systems per se. i think generally it's perceived as very good in this past election cycle. but it's important to note that voting systems, although very, very werl tested and very well understood leg she technology for vote capture and vote tabulation is now only one of many, many systems or that are used in elections. and often the challenge is in deployment of new election systems whether it's in election night reporting, vr systems, voter identification systems, etc. and i think for both the media and the voter to distinguish between what is a voting system versus what is an election system and the implications and the panel part of this, i think we heard a lot of discussion about a type of election system, a voter check-in of electronic
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pollbook which technically is not a part of the voting system. and yet from the voter's perception, it is the gateway to that system and, therefore, is a part of that system. but i do agree with you, don, that the voting systems did perform very well, but some of the other systems that have proliferated, some of their performance is still being analyzed. >> e elisabeth? >> for any of y'all who are not aware, the league of women voters arose directly out of the fight to give women the right to vote. i really appreciate being here and having an opportunity to lend our observations to this discussion because historically one of the first things that the newly-founded league of women voters did in 1920, after 1920 when women got the right to vote, was with inventory state election laws and look for the
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ways that, to let all these million of women who had just received the right to vote get them the information that they needed to actually access the process. and that is something that the league has been doing for the last 92 years. so we are a fed rated organization which means we do have affiliated in every state, and we were observing this election from that perspective. we take on two roles during an election and during a major election cycle. the first is that we advocate for reform of the process. we do that either at the national level, or we do that at the state level and often do that by working with our local election officials in order to improve the process. the second major, major role that we play during an election is to inform and empower voters to access the process, to have the information they need. on the last panel, i was struck by the comments at the end of the round discussing the need
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for voters to take more responsibility, to get themselves informed, to be better prepared when they actually enter the polling plays. and that is a role that the league has taken on over the last many, many years not only for our own members and not just for women, but for all voters. and we were, we engaged in unprecedented level of activity over the last couple of years leading up to the 2012 election because, as don has mentioned, b there have been many, many changes to election law. not so much perhaps the machines we vote on or the way we actually gain access to the polls, but through the processes that voters are also familiar with, you know, how they register, who they can register with, whether they can register to vote on the same day as they can vote, whether they have to register 30 days before, whether they can register with an organization like the league, whether they have to take time
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off work to go to, um, to a registrar's office to actually register, what they need to produce in order to, um, with allowed to register -- be allowed to register, what they need to bring to the polls in order to be checked off that electronic pollbook. a lot of those laws were examined over the last couple years. the league was very much involved at the state level in discussing those laws with our state representatives. and i think one point that i want to make both going forward and then coming back around is that one of the concerns that we had in, um, in advocating for reform of the process or in dealing with that aspect of the voting process was the number of laws that weren acted across the country -- were enacted across the country. based not on the kind of information that we're hearing here from actual poll workers or from state election officials, professional state election officials, but really on assumptions. and since we are an organization
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that believes in facts, we advocate from facts, that was extremely disturbing. we also -- and we were concerned because as i think we were discussing here, the big enchilada was november the 6th. therethere were a lot of electis that led up to november 6th. in some states more than others. primary elections. in wisconsin, i believe, they were going to vote about every two or three weeks will for a while. so as these election laws were being implemented, we were having an opportunity because we do, a lot of our members work as poll workers. we do have observers in the polls. we are very spred as a group of volunteers that these processes work for citizens. we were anticipating, and we were concerned that there was a great deal of confusion when we got to the polls on the part of voters, on the part of poll
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workers, um, on the part of election officials. we were actually seeing instances in which, you know, election officials were not posting the correct information on their web sites because it was changing so much. um, all of that culminates in what the voter's experience is on election day. it all has a ripple effect, it all has implications for what the voter experience is on election day. whether the changes we saw in election law are the reasons we had long line, whether they are the reasons we had as many prou- provisional ballots, whether that's the case, we honestly don't know. and we need to know. and so we appreciate the opportunity to have these discussions and make sure that as we are moving forward to continue to reform the process and as we continue to talk to the decision makers on a lot of what it is the voters experience
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on election day that we have an opportunity to have the actual facts, that we can, you know, not assume that just because a voter presents some form of government-issued voter id that is going to solve all the administrative problems that exist in our elections. and we were really reaching the point by the time we got down to election day where from what we were hearing, that was a lot of the assumptions that were being made. as i'm going around the country and talking to folks, i'll hear, you know, well, if only people would show an id. i mean, well, clearly when we're talking about the issues with hurricane sandy or a lot of the issues that actually came up with long lines, none of that has anything to do with some of the laws that were being passed. and so i think getting facts out there and getting folks to understand what this process is all about, the distinctions in your actual access to the process versus, um, the machine
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you vote on versus the system surrounding, making sure that you're in the right polling place, making sure that, um, you get the ballot that you're entitled to and you're voting for the people that are actually going to represent you. those are things that i think we need to continue to talk about, and certainly we are as an organization continuing to gather data ourselves on what our members experienced on election day, what we observed as poll observers. but what we are at least hearing in the media, what we are hearing anecdotally is certainly what we would have expected given the lead-up to this election. so we appreciate the opportunity to contribute in any way we can to making sure the decisions we make going forward are fact-paced. >> thank you, elisabeth. paul? >> thanks, merle, and thanks to alice and in particular to emily jones who has made my life actually run quite smoothly.
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my name is paul gronke, i'm a professor of political science at reid college, founder and director of the early voting information center, a research center focusing on early absentee voting, and i have been, i've actually known caroline dyeson for more decades than any of us cares to admit. so i've been studying election administration and research methods for about 30 years at this point. i want to talk about b a few things, i want to respond very, very briefly, and i will keep my time. i'm cognizant of the time, very briefly to two comments on the previous panel. one was on poll worker training. you know, the hot new thing now are these things called massive online learning centers, massive online courses, and i'd urge election officials to look at some of these companies not because you can do what billion dollar companies can do, but the technology to produce really
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video-based training has gotten easily accessible, inexpensive, um, and so if you're looking for ongoing training, that might be one place to go. the second thing is the sense of no cell phones, and i have to react to that because i believe virtually everyone in this room is ignoring the no cell phone admonition as we walked in here. i understand you can't take a picture of your ballot, but to ban a cell phone is what people use for information, so that's just odd, and i think most legislators may want to rook at that. my brief comments will focus, primarily, i'll focus on early voting, and i'll have two brief comments on the academy. i'll leave most of that to my colleague and friend michael alvarez sitting across from me. what i used to call the quiet revolution in early voting which first emerged on many radars in 2008, but it's really been quietly growing for the last quarter century. so one thing about 2012 is that
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it's obviously not quiet anymore. virtually any elected official, election official, candidate and citizen knows when early voting starts, um, and that it's ongoing. it really has substantially altered the dynamics of american elections. so what changed in 2012? one is that the calendar, the early voting calendar, if you think of when early voting starts and ends on election day, it was longer on 2012 in general than it has been in previous elections. and i think the reason for that is the unanticipated impact of the move act which standardized the transmission time for military and overseas ballots, and many states chose to -- and local jurisdictions -- chose to mail their domestic absent see ballots at the same time, 45 days. now, there are, um, concerns about absentee voting that you can see expressed quite commonly, and the recommendation that i've made before and i will repeat again here is that state
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and local officials try to break that link. there's simply no reason to mail a ballot across the global at the same time as you need to mail across the county. the second change -- not really a change in 2012, but if you track early voting since 2000, it had been increasing about 50% in each federal cycle. that rate has now plateaued. don and i were chatting a bit before the session about what our current estimates are of the percent of ballots that came in early. it's somewhere between 30 and 35% is where we're going to end up. that is approximately what we saw in 2008. that contrasts with, again, you know, the 50 president increase -- 50% increase we were seeing. we don't know why it has plateaued. i have some thoughts on that that i can share with people afterwards if we have q&a, but that is something to think about in the future. you can't keep planning for this
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number to go up 50-75%, though in some jurisdictions it is doing that. the third thing i'll say for 2012 with respect to the lines is that i've already been contacted by a number of states and jurisdictions about we can fix the lines by putting in early voting. the problem is that data in 2008 collected by michael and charles stewart in a partnership with the pew center in the states is that the average early voter waited longer in line than the election day voter. to repeat, the early voters waited long orer than the election day voters. so you cannot implement early voting as a solution to lines. this is a capacity issue here. and so it's capacity, it's queuing, it's not be necessarily early voting. two other very brief comments. one really e reflects on hava. we're now ten years out from hava, and there's been
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substantial amount of activity in the academic world after the 2000 election and really in response to hava, and i want to comment briefly on that. many of you there was a lot of academic work out after the 2000 election to try to understand what happened. you may be less familiar with a second wave of research which is really appearing now, and on the academic calendar, that's about the right time. we've got enough data and information. there are a number of monographs that are coming out by mike alvarez and his colleagues, there's a recent book by rick hassen, martha croft and david kimball, a number of articles, so i know you don't want to spend a lot of your time reading academic work, but there's another wave of policy-oriented work coming out, and really a new generation of scholars have been produced. you know, the graduate students of 2000 and 2004 are now becoming the ph.d.s and the scholars of the future, so i think the future is bright for continued good work in this field.
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the second closing comment is, please, don't end the election day survey. that, the election day survey, census, whatever we want to call it, it's an absolutely vital piece of information. it's really the only consistent, reliable national source of comparative information that we are about election performance in the united states. i know secretaries of states and local officials don't like to respond to this survey, but i think processes and procedures have been put in place, we have a consistent set of questions. this is an absolutely vital piece of information and must continue to be funded. in addition, i hope we can continue to have funding for the research wing of the eac. i hope the research agenda is not set through the legislative process, but rather more autonomy is given to the eac and the research staff to identify, to put out calls for proposals. i think the research agenda must continue. i hope we don't stop, but we continue forward.
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we did have a meltdown in 2012 -- didn't have a meltdown in 2012, good news. but let's not assume we won't have another one, and if we give up on the scholarship, i think we're going to potentially see another one in the -- >> thank you, paul. >> we can cut to commercial break now. [laughter] >> thank you. barbara? >> hi. good morning, everyone, i'm barbara arnwine, i'm the executive director and president of the lawyers' committee for civil rights under law which runs the election protection coalition. the election protection cohiggs was founded roughly right after the election debacle in 2000 in florida, and we've been operating election protection as a program ever since and really our first operation was in 2001. we are composed of 150 nationwide, statewide, local, grassroots organizations that
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are supplemented by the resources of 200 law firms. we, this last election we operated 28 call-in centers, we had on of the-ground operations in over 80 jurisdictions, we had 5,300 legal volunteers and roughly 2,300 grass roots vols tiers -- volunteers. this, as you can imagine, i'm very grateful for this opportunity to comment on the recent 2012 elections. the lawyers' committee will actually be issuing more election protection, a major report this month. so in two weeks you should be able to access our analysis based on the roughly, you know, 190,000 calls we received, the grassroots reports from these 80 jurisdictions and everything else. our basic conclusion may be different than what you heard in
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the first panel because what we saw was that this election in 2012 demonstrated yet again that americans, the american voters are willing to overcome barriers to make sure their voice is heard on election day. the voting rights community prior to november 6th fought huge battles over photo id, early voting cuts, voter purges, mass challenges, descent i practices -- she -- deceptive practices. so it's not difficult to understand why the voting community was expecting the bottom to fall out on election day. fortunately, on election day the majority of the challenges we saw were recurrent. they were the chronic problems that haunt our election system. they have to do, as we've heard,
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with voter registration, you know, the long lines are a result of so many problems. but one of the biggest problems that we think and what troubles us the most is that so many of the problems are preventable. because one of the biggest problems is the misallocation of resources in voting equipment. undertrained poll workers and understaffed polling places. malfunctioning machines are, you know, whether or not people even turn on the machines. problems with absentee ballots not being received by voters, that probably was one of the most heartbreaking set of calls that we received repeatedly. mismanaged polling locations. however, these chronic problems that voters deal with every election cycle which we have now documented over ten years through election protection were exacerbated this cycle because of the nationwide effort by partisan lawmakers and election
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officials to manipulate the rules by which voters were able to cast their pal ott. thus -- ballot. thus, voter registration restrictions and other obstacles all negatively impacted how long voters had to stand in line, poll worker ability to navigate this myriad of confusing rules and the frequency of provisional ballots being issued. again, we believe most of these were preventable problems, these recurring problems. of we think, you know, obviously, legislative battles had a lot to do with the problems. we are really troubled by the, you know, poll worker training problems. in fact, we have states that don't even require it like pennsylvania and others. thus, there was so much white spread confusion -- wide spreat confusion across the states. i could go through a number of instances, i'm not going to, but i will say here's what we saw as the major problems. misapplication of voter id, especially in michigan and ohio.
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and what we saw was, you know, just the problems of poll workers refusing to issue the affidavit in michigan because they just didn't understand how it was to apply, and then they wouldn't issue provisional ballots. we saw one of the most reported problems out of ohio was the misapplication of the tate's voter id -- the state's voter id rule. poll workers in several counties were reportedly rejecting ids, and voters were being forced to cast provisional ballots because they would not accept, you know, the outdated ohio driver's license with an outdated address. the other problem we saw was the impact on communities of color. i mean, you know, we can talk about all the voters in the world, but communities of color, people with disabilities, seniors and students are bearing the budget of these issues --
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the brunt of these issues. our redistricting battle in texas, the voter id battle we waged in the courts in texas, who were impacted? african-americans, latinos and as the court itself said in finding these laws racially discriminating on purpose said that it was poor and low income voters. early voting in ohio we've done a study that i would recommend to you on cuyahoga county just showing how much people of color rely on early voting, so when there are restrictions on it, it really has a horrible impact. the other thing that we saw that was really troubling for us, we saw all kinds of issues, but we were very pleased, however, that a lot of the issues we saw in other jurisdictions we didn't see in ohio because they do a better job of planning. and we think the people ought to look at some of the planning that is a result of a lawsuit from the league of women voters and the lawyers' committee and others that we found in 2004, and we actually saw the real benefits of that planning and
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would recommend that more states talk about it. one thing we wish the eac would definitely bring to the attention of states and governors and ask them to really come up with some new standards and laws on is how to help first responders. you know, we talk a lot about the realities of people who were impacted negatively by hurricane sandy, who were displaced, you know, t a tragedy that families went through. but one of the most troubling calls we received for the election protection hot line was a call from a a captain of a unit of 8,000 out-of-state workers. and they came from all 50 states, and none of them -- because they were deployed at the last minute -- had done absentee ballots. and they all were disenfranchised, because they went -- they helped their fellow
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americans, but there were no provisions for them to vote. you know, the governors of those states did what they could for their own internal state first responders, but think about the thousand of out-of-state responders. and we did write at the last minute to a lot of these governors in the various states, we wrote to all 50 states and said, please, do something; absentee ballots, emergency process, implement to overseas ballot process for these out-of-state workers. but i think, you know, the response was not -- was definitely less than desirable. so with that i'm going to stop, and when we come back on the recommendations, i got a whole lot to say there. thank you so much. >> i hope it's a whole lot in one minute. >> yes, it will be. [laughter] >> thank you, barbara. karen? >> thank you. >> okay. i'll skip over. jim, if you would? >> i'm jim dickson, i have over 30 years' experience with
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nonpartisan voter registration, education and accessibility for those of us with disabilities. i want to commend the eac for this hearing, and i want to echo something that was mentioned by don and the league. there's a lot of data that we still do not have. i think it's extremely important that this session is happening early after the election. but i would encourage you to look at an additional session when we have much more hard data. in the case of people with disabilities, the data that we do not yet have are, um, rutgers university did a poll of 3,000 voters comparing disabled voters with able-bodied voters looking
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at both their expectations for how -- and the actual experiences. the national council on disability which, um, advises congress, will be doing a report later this year. they collected many stories and those stories are actual experiences. i want to commend the election protection organization. it, you know, there are over 400 specific disabilityish -- disability issues in the database. and lastly, the u.s. census will be releasing later in the year data on how many people with disabilities actually voted. it'll be broken down by category and by types of disabilities. and in the cases of the larger
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jurisdictions, um, there'll even be data. um, there were 14,700,000 people with disabilities who voted in 2008. that's still a 7% gap with between the disabled and able-bodied in terms of voter participation. poll worker training is, um, is extremely important. some of the problems that we saw not only in the election, but in previous election that link back to poll worker training are the machines aren't turned on. the poll workers don't know how to turn on the accessible machine. the poll workers pressure people not to use the accessible machine. poll workers quite
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inappropriately looking at a person with a disability and saying you're not competent to vote. this happens over and over again. that is illegal, it is morally offensive, and it happens lots of times in every election if lots of places -- in lots of places. i want to commend the district, because they used testing after training for poll workers. i think that's essential. and it's not just to gauge what the poll worker knows, but it's to teach election officials what points the training is doing well on and what points the training is falling down on. i also through that, um, as complicated as these elections are -- and god bless poll
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workers for volunteering, they're the guardian angels of our democracy -- but this is such a complex process that the idea that you can train somebody to run it efficiently in a couple of hours when the last time they did this was a year ago, it's just, it's a dysfunctional notion. we need it'sing to see what is -- testing to see what is being absorbed by poll workers, and we need longer training periods. a problem that kale up through the election -- that came up through the election protection data and which we have seen in other elections, there's need for a best practices on how to help people who are unexpectedly in the hospital on election day to vote. um, in st. louis county the
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election protection coalitions tried to meet with the county officials for nine months prior to the election to shake out what the rules would be to assist people who were in the hospital on election day. in the case of just one woman who found out on monday she had to be, go to the hospital for emergency surgery on tuesday, this voter called the board of elections on monday, called on tuesday morning. it took six additional calls to get someone to bring a ballot out to her in the hospital. when one of the election protection volunteers called at 2:00 in the afternoon, that volunteer was told by the county we've had so many requests for assistance to vote in hospitals
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that we are no longer accepting those requests. um, the -- in spite of these problems, it was a remarkably smooth election. people with disabilities have a particular concern about the long lines. many people with disabilities physical hi cannot stand -- physically cannot stand in lines. they just, tear bodies will not -- their bodies will not let them do it. we need a best practice on how that should be handled. um, i want to conclude by pointing out some recent research that's been done at clemson where they've actually taken ballots and conducted time
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trials to see how long it takes a voter to vote given a particular ballot, begin -- given different systems. and there's a couple of very interesting things. this needs more study, so i want to reinforce paul's point about hard research. let's make decisions about elections based on fact, not on ideology. but in the case of the broward county ballot, it took a paper ballot, it took five minutes for an individual to vote. using an experimental technology, it took less than a minute. i think that we can use actual
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scientific methods to address and test not only poll worker training, but also the whole problem with the queues and the whole problem of moving to scale. thank you very much. >> okay. thank you, jim. jennie? >> good morning. i direct election programs at the national conference of state legislatures. for those of you who aren't familiar with ncsl, we are sort of a part professional organization, we support legislators and staff in all 50 states, and we're also a nonpartisan think tank. we do a lot of research on just about any issue that might come before a state legislature n. the area of elections, probably the most common information request i get is a legislator or a staffer calling in saying we're thinking of introducing a bill to do x. what do the ore 49 states do?
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so we gather a lot of information and data on state election laws. and also since 2001 on election legislation in the states. before 2000, before florida, bush v. gore we didn't really do a lot with election administration at ncsl. we did a lot with referendum and campaign finance, but election administration was pretty quiet, and that's because we weren't really asked about it very much. that all changed overnight. the day after the election i sort of started collecting press clips on, you know, senator so and so's going to introduce a bill to do that, or representative so and so's going to do that. next thing i know, the folder of press chips is this thick. so i. >> ump dumped it in a -- so i dumped it in a desperate sheet. now fast forward to 2013, i have a very robust database that has i would guess between 35,000 to 40,000 bills in it that are introduced in state legislatures
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to address areas of administration and just about every way you can think of. so that's a pretty nice set of data, and it goes back for 12-plus years now. and it allows me to sort of make comparisons how things happened this year, how they've happened in the past. one thing i'll say about this election and the legislation leading up to this election that might surprise you is that, actually, the volume of legislation was lower than it normally is. the second lowest total number of bills passed in a biennium since i started tracking information on this topic, and the total number of bills passed in 2012 which is, in a lot of ways, a really bad time to pass election reform legislation, the lowest ever. so in spite of this increasing attention that we have seen on elections since 2000, the vast increase in litigation, litigation has doubled since bush v. boar and has stay --
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bush v. gore and has stayed that high. in spite of all the media attention in this sort of voter suppression verse or us election integrity debate we read about, actually less happened than in a normal year. so some of the things that did happen, though, were much more highly politicized than they have been in the past. and this is something that i think has been growing gradually, um, over the past decade or so. the politicization of election administration. so we saw voter id laws enacted in 11 states during the biennium preceding the 2012 election. we saw early voting periods rolled back in about half a dozen states. in and some of these happened very late in the process, passing a major election administration change like voter id with just a few months before the election is, i imagine -- i'm not a local election official, but i imagine it's probably quite a nightmare to see that happen.
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[laughter] and then we had the litigation that followed so many of these changes. some of that wasn't settled until immediately before the election, and that leaves a lot of uncertainty on the part of election officials at the state and local level and also voters, and that leads to confusion, it makes planning very difficult to do. um, and i think even though we saw less legislation enacted this biennium than we typically do, it was more troferl, it was more politically polarizing, and it was later in the game than it usually is. um, so having said that, though, there were some things that states did that sort of flew under the radar this year. you know, when i talked to the media over the last couple years about election administration, all anybody wanted to talk about was early id, early voting and voter registration drives. but there were lots of things going on in states around the country that ran contrary to this voter suppression versus election integrity debate that was set up for us. a big one i want to point out is
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online voter registration. seven states adopted online voter registration during 2011 and 2012, and this is one of the big trends that we have picked out for the upcoming biennium too. vote centers, half a dozen states adopted new legislation dealing with vote centers. registration list maintenance, at least 16 states made dramatic improvements to their list maintenance procedures. postelection audits, three states adopted major postelection audit procedures including the new risk-limiting audits. 6 states -- and that -- 36 states, and that's an at least, did more for overseas ballots. not in place for 2012 but going forward. so these are, these are election administration changes that can address many of the problems that we have heard about from so many people already today. vote centers might help to
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reduce the number of provisional ballots. improving your registrationless maintenance procedures, another thing that can help with reducing the number of provisional ballots. postelection audits can give people confidence that they may lack going into the election with all of these changes at the last minute. at least we can trust the results we're getting. some of the issues we're looking for in 2013 i mentioned already, electronic voter registration. there's already voter id legislation pend anything a dozen states this year. some of the states that tried to pass voter id were not able to because of partisanship. maybe today had a governor of the opposite party or one chamber of the leaptture was the opposite party, and that has changed this year. is so expect voter id in some of the states that were not able to pass it last bienb yum. i think there'll be a lot more attention to early voting periods. some of the states that shortened it in the past two years are looking at adding back in particularly that last
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weekend, the sunday before election day. i think that in view of the storm that hit us just a few days before the election, a lot of states will be looking at contingency planning and how to handle elections in the event of a disaster. more on audits. there'll be a lot of legislation on the electoral college. none of it will pass. [laughter] that's my prediction. this is an ongoing game that we play every year after a presidential election, everybody introduces bills to change the electoral college. nothing ever happens. but the big one, the really big issue that we're paying the most attention to and really preparing ourselves to support legislatures on is voting equipment. everybody's going to need to buy new voting equipment in the next few years, and the question of what to buy and how to pay for it is going to be a big deal going forward. >> all right. i wish i knew everything that
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you know about -- [laughter] what's coming down the pipeline. i often say that the only law that governs elections is the law of unintended consequence. and -- [laughter] how many of those bills that you referenced in the thousands produced only the effect that was desired, it would be interesting research. michael. >> thank you. and thanks for inviting me. i wanted to tank the eac -- thank the eac, and in particular i also wanted to echo paul's thanks to emily who did a wonderful job making my life easy in terms of getting here. like paul, i have been studying elections for not quite as long as paul. he's a little grayer than me, as you noticed. [laughter] he's two or three years older than me. i count my years studying elections at about 25 years,
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about a quarter decade which when i say that makes me feel pretty old. but quite a lot of experience studying elections across the board and across the world as well. i've been studying these specific issues about technology and administration since about 1998, and since 2000 have been involved with the cal tech voting project which for the last few years or so charles stewart, my colleague at mit, and i have codirected. i assume most of of you are familiar with our project. one of the four presentations that i prepared on the flight yesterday deals with the voting technology project. but i won't give that one. i'll just refer folks to our web site which is voting technology where we have a report that we issued in the fall of 2012 right before the election that summarizes our work, a lot of the academic work, summarizes a lot of our perceptions and research as to
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what changed since the bush/gore election and the litigation surrounding it in 2000 and the 2012 election. where i'm going to focus on today, i guess i will give this presentation. again, i do have four presentations open on my desktop here. but what i am going to talk about, and i think it echoes what many have talked about on the panel so far is really moving towards a really data-driven process of studying, evaluating and managing elections. um, i think that from our perspective is where the future lies and really moving towards a very data-driven process, i think, is very important. of course, i'm biased in saying that because that's certainly what i do. and i just did publish a book, as paul talked about. it's called "evaluating elections. "there's a copy of it sitting here, i'm not going to flash it,
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but that would be a little too weird. it's co-authored with that'd hall and lana atkinson, professor at the university of new mexico. and we talk a lot about data-driven evaluative processes for election administration. and go through a whole variety of different sources of data. and some of those have been talked about today. for example, we talk a lot about how election officials and advocates and academics alike can take better advantage of readily available data of which there's an enormous amount these days given the web. many jurisdictions like -- i happen to be in los angeles county which is where los angeles is. of. [laughter] and by election official, dean logan, is here. and dean in particular has done a lot of work in association with us in collecting voter and poll worker surveys which we think has been an incredibly valuable resource in helping
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dean and his team try to evaluate their process and think forward through the voting systems, his voting system's assessment project as to what the future of elections is going to look like in los angeles county. we've done those kinds of surveys nationally as well. that's the data that charles collected in 2012, charles stewart, and he -- we have a new round of that data that will be, i think, available sometime in february in terms of a written evaluation. election b observation, in the previous panel someone discussed in-person election observation which i find as an academic to be one of the most valuable things we can do which is to go and actually stand in the polling place and watch people vote. understand the process as it actually occurs. see what poll workers actually do. see the problems people face on election day. that's been an amazing opportunity for myself. election forensics. we can talk about that later if anyone's interested. there's a growing research area
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in the study of election fraud and methods to try to detect election fraud, and i'm happy to talk about that. and postelection auditing. we actually just published a book as well on postelection auditing. there's a lot of innovation in that area, and many election jurisdictions are adopting them, and that's an amazing source of information for trying to understand how elections are being conducted in a jurisdiction and learning more about how elections can be improved in that jurisdiction. now, in terms of some issues that i just wanted to put on the table, issues that can be studied with data, one has already been discussed; litigation and legislation. 2012, in some ways, was this period of stability legislatively which i thought was really quite interesting. but it was a period where there was an enormous amount of litigation. and in the preelection period, the effect of that litigation, i think, is a big unknown. how does it affect voters? does it affect their confidence in the process? how does it affect poll workers
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and their confidence? 40 how does it affect the uncertainty election officials have about implementing elections? those are many things that we just don't know, and i do think that's something that's probably more on the academic side and needs to be better understood. there was this massive, there's been this massive movement over the last decade towards or convenience. that's convenience voting, that's convenience registration, more in-person early voting, all of those types of reforms. and i think those trends are ones we're getting data on, and i think we really do need to better understand those. interestingly enough, it's been mentioned despite some of these trends towards convenience we saw in certain places long lines. and we do have some data on that. charles stewart presented some at a pew event in december. you know, there are certain, in certain jurisdictions there seemed to be long lines, and why that is we'll have more information on probably later on. um, provisional balloting has
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been also mentioned, and i'm not going to steal dean's thunder because i know he he has some data on this. but when i was out in polls on election day in los angeles county with some of my students, we were just amazed to see in los angeles county just how widespread the use of proriggs visional -- provisional balloting was. my back of the enhe lope estimate was we thought maybe 10 or or 15% of voters in los angeles county where there's a relatively high rate of voting by mail were using provisional ballots. and better understanding that, i think, is something that's very important. and, again, dean i think might talk about that later on today. and finally this hurricane sandy, and there's opinion some mention of that, and i will return to that in a few minutes. the convenience voting piece, we need lots of information on convenience voting. we need election officials to report election returns by voting mode. that is, we need an election official to tell us how many
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votes are cast at the precinct level if possible, at the county level certainly in particular by voting bloc. it's surprising how difficult that information is to get. and as the rise of voting in person and voting by mail continues, it makes a lot of the kind of research that we've all been doing for the last decade -- for example, voting analyses increasingly difficult -- it would be interesting to know about the demographics. and we have some data from cps and the pew studies, and we need to know who's voting in the different ways. i think that tells us a lot about how in particular election officials can improve service. online registration, i agree, is one of the sort of next big things that's not really being talked a lot about. it came into fruition in california this cycle, dean might speak a little about that. who's registering online? when are they registering online? and in particular, what effects
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is this having for administering the logistics of an election? and with the flood of what i think are last minute registrations coming in online, again, what effects does that have for administering elections? and then there's a new trend which i had the opportunity to study with my colleague lana in albuquerque, new mexico, of anywhere voting. you know, voting kind of on demand anywhere. in a jurisdiction. it's an interesting trend. it's convenience voting. and i think better understanding that is something that we really, really need to know, because i do think that's going to be on the agenda in many states. long lines. we absolutely need to move away from anecdotes about lines and to quantify lines. we need to understand what the lengths of wait times are. we need to understand who's waiting in line, we need to understand where they're waiting in line. the surveys that charles has
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been conducting, i think, is the sum of that information, but we need a lot more data about that. we also need to understand what happens when people wait in line. do they turn away? do they have an inferior voting experience? there's a lot of research questions that we really need data on to understand. but really we need to understand why they arise. we have lots of different hypotheses for why they arise. is it voting machines? is it queuing because of registration problems? there's lots of different hypotheses, and i think we need to understand those better is so we can better understand how to resolve those kinds of problems. provisional ballots. um, again, this was manager i actually try -- something i actually tried vainly over the last couple of days to get information on provisional ballots in 2012. it's very difficult to obtain. states are, i think, not providing the information that we need on the numbers of provisionals cast at the county level and in particular why they're being cast, how many are
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included in the tabulation, how many aren't and the reasons for the ballots that aren't included in the tabulation for why they're not being tabulated. we need to understand who the people are who are casting provisional ballots. we need to understand better all those different aspects of the provisional balloting process because it's a very important component of election administration today, and it's being used heavily in some states and some counties. hurricane sandy. i think hurricane sandy is a really interesting case study that i really don't have a good handle on right now for how as an academic we would go about studying it. but i think it's something that we really need to the better understand. um, and i don't know what data's going to be available. i think that the eac could probably reach out to those election officials to make sure that whatever information they have about the contingencies that they put in place, um, is being kept and made available
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for research. but i will remind everyone that this is not the first time this has happened. we had hurricane katrina, we had hurricane rita, we've had a variety of different disasters strike during elections, and as i was watching the hurricane sandy events unfold and, of course, fielding, you know, all these phone calls from reporters as to what the implications of this were, i was sort of struck by the lack of research and facts that i could point to for a better understanding of how election officials in the past have responded to these contingencies. so i would urge research there in particular on how election officials responded and how that affected voters or and poll workers and the process in general. regarding hurricane sandy. and i'd also point out that there are other similar natural disasters that have occurred recently where there probably is also data that could be used to analyze the problems and provide some insight as to what contingency plans ought to be put in place by election
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officials. finally, and i will, i will stop as a professor, i will stop, just a couple of quick things just to throw on the table. jim talked about accessibility. that is an area where there is now, finally, some really good research coming out. and i think we'll see more of that over the coming years, and i really would like to highlight that as an area that really does need some serious or focus. you acaf v.a. voters, i don't think you've been mentioned yet today. we still don't know as much as we need to know about who they are, where they are, how they're voting, what their experiences are. we need more information. technology was just mentioned. counties and states throughout the country are going to have to replace their voting systems in coming years. i think we've all forgotten kind of that that's going to be an issue very soon. so i do think that another round of research on what the existing technologies are, pros and cons, the same sorts of things we were
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doing after 2000 is called for at this point. finally, i think that it would be nice for more information about election auditing. who's doing what kinds of audits. i'm wondering if there's a whole someone could play as a clearinghouse for that kind of information. also in terms of what the results of these audits are and how they're being used to improve performance. so that's it, thank you. >> okay. thank you, michael. and, dorothy. >> good afternoon. my name is dorothy brizill, and i run a good government organization in the district of columbia known as dcwatch. rather than repeat a number of the issues that have been raised today, i'd like to try to enlighten people as regards my experience on election day and add a perspective as regards what went on in the district of columbia. as alice well knows since she served previously as the
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executive direct or of the d.c. board of elections, on election day i regularly go to anywhere between 40 and 50 precincts, and during early voting i not only visit the eight early voting centers in the district of columbia, but i visit them multiple times of the day. so my ons ovations are my -- observations are my own. in the district of columbia, we saw it all. we saw the problems with long lines, we had the issue with machines that jammed or didn't function, machines that were used and not used and staffing that caused problems in terms of opening up some polls. despite what was said earlier, all the polls did not open in the district of columbia on time. and, indeed, in the district -- rightly so -- the board of elections has a reservoir of poll workers which it had to rapidly dispatch in order to
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open certain polls. and there was also a problem at opening certain polls because the buildings were not open. but let me add something new as opposed to something, some other things. in the district of columbia, the nation's capital, i think it's important to focus on what our experiences were. and first and foremost, you need to know that the november election occurred with the backdrop that it was the first election that was being planned by a new executive director of the board of elections who had been there less than a year. and a new three-member board of elections who were all political appointees of the mayor. so i want to paint the scenario that you have the planning for a presidential election which everybody attempts is going to have a high voter turnout, and you have the people who are overseeing that process -- both the three-member board and the executive director -- who are doing it for the first time.
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now, with regard to the district of columbia, there are a couple of things that i think that were unique in the district, and i don't know if it's true elsewhere. for example, the size of our precincts. you're assigned a prezillionth, and you go to a precinct. but in the district of columbia, some precincts are as small as having 763 rebelling structured -- registered voters, and in the same ward, you have a pree sint that has more than 7,000 registered voters. so can you anticipate certain lines at certain precincts? in addition, we have polling precincts that have been there for 30 years. they are not the right size, not in the right location, they have no bathroom facilities, they're not accessible, but they've been there for 30 years. i have asked the board of elections as part of its audit and review postelection to look at changing the location. but also i think the big problem that i observed, and i think
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that has been alluded to already, is the layout of the precinct. again, you have precinct captains, you have poll workers who have been assigned to certain precincts for 30 years. that precinct has been laid out a certain way 30 years ago. it is laid out a certain way today. it did not, in in many instances, did not accommodate long lines and, indeed, i think the worst situation i encountered were at the libraries where lines literally snaked through the library up and down as well as went outside the front door. i think every precinct that i went to could use a better signage. signage is terrible at our precincts. you arrived at the precincts polling sites and there were long lines, but you didn't know what line to be on. there was no signagement if you had registered online, you had a
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separate situation you needed to be on a different line. i think most importantly i would suggest the following: we have had a way of doing elections in the district of columbia and, i think, across the countries in a number of years in a number of waysment at the district of columbia, when you arrive at a polling site, you have to go to a desk, you have to identify yourself, they have to find you in the pollbook. then you have to step into another line for someone to determine whether or not you're qualified, and you can yet a ballot. every step along the line is a different line and a different process. i think that, um, dr. alvarez and others are doing innovative work as regards looking at our election process, not doing a knee-jerk reaction. and i think that we need to find a way to make it a more pleasant experience. let me end by saying this.
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i believe that elections are very much like a trip to the dmv. you don't go there often, but it has to be a pleasant experience. my concern is that what will voters walk away with with regard to their experience in november? we already know and are terribly concerned about the low voter turnout in the united states. if, especially first-time voters, if that hard-of -- hard-to-reach welfare mother in anacostia came out to vote but had to wait four years in line, when we ask her to come out and vote the next time, is she going the do it? i don't know. i'm terribly concerned about that. so while it might seem to be an academic exercise or, you know, we got rid of of that one in november, let's put it off until
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the next presidential -- this happens every election. more so during a presidential election, and i welcome the opportunity for organizations such as this to say, look, let's put everything under a microscope. what worked, what didn't work, what can be fixed. and we certainly have the minds here at this table and around the country that can do a better job. thank you. >> okay. thank you, dorothy. i want to answer a question that came in via a blog, and then i have a question about auditing and research of the group. and that'll put us about ten minutes away from our summary statements and, dorothy, we'll start with you, and we'll work back around the table in just a moment. the question that came in was, clarify the difference between election systems and voting systems in terms of testing standards. voting systems are fairly narrowly defined as vote capture, vote tabulation systems, and the conformance requirements for those systems
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are articulated at the federal level in a document called the voluntary voting system guidelines. at state level they're articulated sometimes in statute, but most often in rules and regs. those are very well-documented. most of the standards are conformance standards, and most of them are quantitative in some way, shape or form. when you get to elections systems, those are the systems that kind of surround elections that could include online vr systems. the testing done there is done by the vendor for the most part, and the jurisdiction at some implementation rollout, prototype event. those standards are, um, there's no con enus on those standards -- consensus on those standards. those standards are often not documented, they're not distributed. and so we have this lack of
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symmetry in the testing of our election systems in which the voting systems are very rigorously tested. but, in fact, these election systems are typically much less so. and the consequence for that, i think, is in current and future elections is that a very well-performing voting system may be, in fact, judged as poorly performing because of the interface and the dependency between the election systems and the voting systems. so long answer to that question, but here's the question i have about, um, research and data. a colleague, beth white, in marion county said something about elections that really caught my attention. mostly because she was quoting trotzky out of -- [laughter] anna written that which was happy families are happy all in the same way. but unhappy families are unhappy
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in different ways. and her observation is that good elections all look the same. they really do. they all conform to the requirements. they're highly predictable. but unsuccessful elections are unsuccessful in all different ways. and the question that i have and really, jennie, your comment about all of the audit requirements that are coming out, it always strikes me as odd that as an auditor that the scope of the audit, the scale of the audit, the subject of the audit could be predetermined before the event that triggers the need for the audit. and often what we see in election auditing is really, a euphemism for recounting in a different way when, in fact, the controls that are in place that insure the correctness of the audit, the controls that should be the target of the audit, are not even considered frequently. so my question to the
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researchers is how could we percent align -- how could we better align this interest in election auditing with, first, good auditing procedures, conventional auditing procedures, but also make them sufficiently adaptive to the actual events that trigger their need? i'll throw that out to mike and paul and jennie and anybody else. >> mike the expert -- what i would, i'm not going to challenge an auditor about audits, but i will note that there is, i think, a superb top-to-bottom election report that was done in partnership with lana atkinson, again, in the state o new mexico. i think often audits are thought of fairly narrowly as a recount, but, in fact, this report demonstrates the benefit that can be gained from a bottom system audit. so i would simply point anyone to that report and the number of
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improvements in procedures in new mexico. the more narrow audit, i think, can be a flag to investigate more thoroughly processes and procedures. so i would, i would urge people not to think of an audit narrowly even though the trigger may be narrow. i think the audit itself is really a top-to-bottom procedure. you were part of that report, i think, mike? >> well, i'm an inch deep and a mile wide on this summit, so i'll be very brief. you know, a couple things. one, we did an article in many our elections newsletter i think maybe about three months ago on postelection audits. it's a good resource for people like me who are not auditors. [laughter] who don't really understand this in depth. and it talks about not only auditing the election result, but also auditing the procedures and systems used to implement the election. because those are, are, um, it's
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taking that step back after the fact, i think, is a piece that's missing very often. and my second point would be that this is something that legislatures have not traditionally delved too deeply into because there's that line between, i think, what is appropriate for legislation and what is maybe more appropriate for regulation. and this might be one of those things that needs to be a little bit more flexible and adaptable to the situation so that the things that we see coming out of legislatures tend to be a little broader, perhaps, than what's actually happening on the ground. >> okay. michael? >> i'll try to be real brief about this. you know, in all my conversations with election officials i think they do a lot of this kind of auditing. it's just very informal. it's the sense of we sit around with our staff and maybe some of the local advocates or people who have, or poll workers, and we just talk about what happened in the election. we have a postmortem.
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and that's great because i think that provides feedback into the process and goes back towards improving their procedures. what the push towards, i think, more rigorous forms of postelection ballot auditing and then other forms of auditing like auditing registration systems and auditing the procedures is to try to regularize that and to really make that information available to the public and, you know, interested researchers so they can also have some part in in providing that sort of postelection feedback. but i think there's a very big difference between what we talk about when we talk about postelection ballot audits and what a real auditor talks about when they talk about audits. and i think that bridging that gap in the next year or two, i think, would be really important for election administrators. >> merle, for my say i'm pleased with this auditing conversation
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to note that the eac in its statutory overview which for those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a compendium piece that we developed a couple of years ago to accompany the election administration and voting survey. the thinking being that people really wanted a sense of what was going on statutorily in states so they could actually look at the data in the election, um, the survey and interpret it better, accurately. case in point, early versus absentee. we this year added a question on auditing, and at the request of a number of academics, advocates out there. and it is -- i just this week was looking at the results, um, because our contractor has just compiled this stuff. so stay tuned, um, for that research. that's something that will be available probably in about six
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weeks. and it is a real mix in terms of the informality, the forpalty -- formality, the procedures or lack of procedures around this very topic. >> okay, thank you. well, we're going to wrap up now, and if you could limit your comments to about 30 seconds or so, what advice would you give to your colleagues, what advice would you give to election officials, what do you see is as the priorities as we go forward with assessing this election and planning for the next? dorothy? >> i think the watch word i would, two watch words is change and flexibility. i think that, um, most election officials and boards of elections abhor change. as i said earlier, if it's been done for 20 years, they're happy to keep doing it the same way. i think everything should be able b to be under a microscope and be revisited, and i think that, um -- i also don't think
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you need to make change for change's sake. but i think they should not abhor change. i think that there needs to be flexibility. i think that the hurricane sandy issue raises the issue that in many states and jurisdictions our election laws and processes, procedures are very rigid. and it cannot accommodate a sandy or cannot accommodate a change. and it cannot turn around very quickly. so i would suggest change and flexibility needs, need to be the watch words. >> many okay. thank you, dorothy. mike? >> i would say minimally certainly the eac at the federal level needs to keep doing what they're doing in terms of collecting all of the existing data elements for, that have been collected in past elections cycles and moving forward. i would say that some of the other topical areas are ones that i talked about and others have talked about are ones that require study. and, third, i would just like to point out to election officials throughout the country that
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probably in every state there are people who can help them from their universities and collegings. and if anybody ever needs help figuring out who those people are, they can contact people like paul and i, and we're happy to put you in touch with folks who can assist in those kinds of stu studies. >> thank you, mike. jennie? >> i'm going to echo the call for more data, and there are two particular pieces that i would love to have every election, and one is data on provisional ballots. i want to know why provisional ballots are cast, and i want to know whether or not they're counted by category, and if they're not counted, why not? that's information that a surprising number of states don't even gather. we tried earlier, a couple years ago, excuse me, to figure out how many provisional ballots were cast for lack of id and found that nobody's asking or nobody's quantifying that. when a provisional ballot gets cast, that is in some ways an indication of a glitch in the
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system. .. >> following up on what mike just said, maybe election officials should look at the local universities where they teach people how to teach, and there's a wealth of data their
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on what works and how to measure what's effective. and you know, we need to take a real hard look at how to train the poll workers. because this is a very complicated thing we're asking them to do. it's only going to get more complicated. >> i think be creative, encourage partnerships with high schools, law schools, colleges, local businesses or government agencies to really improve and diversify the poll worker workforce. i think that's just inherited. and want to point out to everyone that new york city and new york state when the sandy disaster happened wrote every
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law firm in the state and said please send us lawyers, and they did. cuyahoga county used a process of this year where they recruited 60 attorneys from all of the country to come in and help them to monitor, troubleshoot workers and voters. so more of that. written plans by all of these, you know, election administration, officers, so that we know and have procedures in place for for allocation, training. i just want to say, this time in a row we are watching that the same identical problem. same identical problem with poll worker misallocation, machines, all kinds of problems. i did it. there's no excuse for it. there has to be some accountability on some of these problems.
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last, i would say that this eac needs to come out and support automatic voter registration. voter modernization administration is the only answer really to all of these election registration problems, and it will change dramatically what's happening here. and i think they would make it so better for voters. and then i would conclude by saying that these voter id laws, if are going to try to bring that up, et cetera, it's going to be imperative as we work with the state to make sure that where they do pass these voter laws and they survive litigation we bring against them, that they are, in fact, training, giving people the opportunity to actually get an id for free. and when i say actually, really making sure there's some accessibility to the voter id, because that's a big problem for too many places.
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and one of the problems, everybody talks about the selection of how bad the voter id information, people with spanish, spanish speaking who had come english was not the first language was come and we've just got to get better at that. >> three nails and three hammers. male number one you already heard from mike. there's a lot of call for more data. academics are very talented at writing scripts and programs that can convert information to stay a local officials already have, into the output from the election machine and we can help you convert that into transparent and are operable data format that we can use. so please contact both of us to this takes attention things that we want to do and they will do it for free. nail number two is some sort of floor or standardization of access to early voting in your state or jurisdiction.
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we would not accept the creation and access to the bounce by gender, race, income, education on election day. we accept it for early voting. the hammer there is jennie, and mcso. there are states that have very good coach in place to put some sort of standardization and their formulas in place for satellite early voting. so if you're considering that, go to jennie, talk to your colleagues in other states. the third nail is the eac survey. the hammer is meat or other state agencies. and out was, i have a memo i can send you, but the eac survey should be issued on a for your bases on an ongoing rolling basis and probably should be housed in an academic institution, not contracted out the latest effort i will talk about the liberals are examples of federal agencies, the doj, department of education, statistics that are done this way. there are many advantages for
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doing this. i hope congress will let the eac gives us. >> thank you. elisabeth? >> i want agree with everything that has been recommended here so far as we are moving around the table, and one of want to add is the observation that although we were getting trends toward convenience voting, our machines are coming into those slowly into the 21st century, our attitudes towards system are not. necessarily an awful lot of the process, the legal processes that are still surrounding our voting systems are very 19th century. to change that the public is going to need to be involved because legislators respond to their constituents. so outreach in its many forms as we can with as much information, as much data as we can to make people understand that there is a difference between the politics that happens with one party disputing an election, and the actual process of going to
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the polls and making your choice is going to be imperative as we move forward. >> think you, elisabeth. and don. >> four or five quick bullet points i guess. first i would say keep it balanced a manageable length. 11 ballot measures in some states on top of another 15 statewide races, on top of local races. it's crazy in some states, the length of about and how long it takes to fill it out. that has a lot to do with the lines in those states. a lot of it has to do with proliferation about measures, questions, et cetera, such as the western states. change laws allowing mail ballots to arrive x. days after election day. 11 states that allow the ballots to be received a day after up to two weeks after. this essentially creates not an election night with a telling it takes place by the election officials and us, coincidentally, but an election we, a two-week period which i think the roads public
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confidence and interest in creates a lot of confusion. third, followed best practices in some states that seamlessly handle the unofficially tallying up early and absentee votes on election night. i would mention states like south dakota, texas especially. rethink voting centers. i think they only save money, probably a lot of data on this, but i think the only save money if they're only a few of them in a county budgets are only a few of them in the county it requires long drives, create long lines, and creates a lot of confusion and requires that you have super poll workers are familiar with everything in the whole county. but in a few districts and much more widely, almost as wide as regular polling places, we have sort defeated the purpose and no way you will have enough qualified workers. lastly, i think early voting, absentee voting, even some election day voting for our seniors were mentioned a number of times, and this will become
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with the demographics the country getting older, more and more people will be voting for him or at nursing homes. i think we need some best practices and some close look at that phenomenon and ballot security in those facilities. and best practices, i don't know if there's any research on that at all except for anecdotal notices that are little bit worrisome. spoke okay. thank you, don. >> i know we're running over. again, let me thank each of you for linear expertise in your comments and your recommendations. we will take this information, reviews and use those for best practices and guidance as to put out for election officials. i will just comment briefly on a few things you all said. gym, with respect to the incident at the hospital, i personally have that with the niece of mine who went into day before election day. it was a challenge to vote on election day, was one that she
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knitted figure out how to do. we didn't quite get that taken care of even after she called me, it didn't happen it's about is is something we need to look at. also, the idea of seniors. we need to be cognizant of our seniors and how we treat them. the nursing home certainly do need to get the attention they deserve because those are, you know, in large part how we got to where we are today. history is based on folks who got us where we are, so we certainly need to recognize that they have a place and we need to continue to be able to cast their votes. so i'm going to stop. my voice is kind of in the -- i've been sick for the past two weeks, but i want you all to please, take a break, we'll come back with our election officials both state and local, we have talked about new york and new jersey. we have representatives here on your jurisdictions and they can lend their expertise to what they experienced with hurricane sandy and how they're able to get through election day, even
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in light of everything that they had to face. so please, we will start back up again at 130 time it. merle, the you have any closing comments? >> i just wanted to thank everybody, not on for your preparation and participation here, but really for the, your willingness and your ability to reach out and reach across boundaries. that's what really distinguishes this group is your willingness to work with election officials, to share your insights, and to listen to election officials. and i think you for that and look forward to working with all of you in the future. thank you. >> this week on c-span2, we are airing q&a interviews just before our primetime schedule. today at 6 p.m., supreme court justice antonin scalia discusses his book making your case, the art of persuading judges, which he wrote with brian gardner. the book offers advice to lawyers.
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at 7 p.m. eastern, neil barofsky talks about the time he spent at special inspector general in charge of oversight for the troubled asset relief program. he is the author of bailout, an inside account of the washington amend in main street while rescuing wall street. >> i think that collectivization of the minds of america's founding fathers is particularly dangerous because as i said so often in the book they were not collective entity and presenting them as much tens to dramatically oversimplify the politics of the founding generation. and then it comes to be used as a big battering ram to these people. in ways that i think are focus of struggle is going implement. >> michael auslin on what he calls the deep historical flaws
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by conservative copy taters in their work of america's founding issue. sunday at 9 p.m. at midnight eastern on c-span2. >> u.s. chamber of commerce president thomas donohue gives his annual state of american business address today, outlining challenges the business community faces and the chamber's policy agenda for 2013. topping the agenda this year are improving economic growth, government reform and expanding opportunities in the business community. this is expected to begin shortly. this is live coverage on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]


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